INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on the College Football Playoff championship game (all times local):
No. 1 Alabama leads No. 3 Georgia 9-6 at halftime of the CFP championship game, a contest that has turned into a defensive struggle.
The two teams combined for five field goals and and have just 31 yards rushing.
The Crimson Tide lost top receiver Jameson Williams with what appeared to be an injured left knee early in the second quarter. He has not returned.
Coach Nick Saban told ESPN at halftime that young receivers would have to step up.
“They’ve got talent. So they’ve got to play with competitive character and have a chance to make some plays. They’re capable,” Saban said. “They don’t have the experience, but they’re going to get it tonight.”
Georgia coach Kirby Smart says his team needs to avoid mistakes on offense.
“We’ve got to settle down,” he said. “We haven’t had probably one drive where we didn’t have negative yards starting where we had to back up.”
Georgia will receive the second half kickoff.
Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams went down with an apparent left knee injury.
The Crimson Tide All-American clutched his left knee lying on the ground after a 40-yard catch in the second quarter against Georgia. Williams was helped off the field, putting minimal weight on his left leg. He walked toward the locker room minutes later.
Alabama scored on the drive to take a 6-3 lead.
Alabama was already without 1,000-yard receiver John Metchie III, lost to a knee injury in the Southeastern Conference championship game. Freshman Agiye Hall was pressed into action.
Williams is one of the nation’s top deep threats, with four touchdown catches of 70-plus yards to lead the nation. He had four catches for 65 yards at the time of the injury.
Williams had seven catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the SEC title game against the Bulldogs.
A sellout crowd, clad largely in red, filled Lucas Oil Stadium arrived early for the national championship game between SEC rivals No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia.
Organizers were following the county health department’s guidelines — strongly encouraging masks be worn but not requiring it. Unlike last year’s title game in Miami, fans were not socially distanced.
Capacity of the stadium is about 70,000.
New College Football Hall of Fame inductee Andrew Luck returned to Lucas Oil Stadium for what is believed to be his first appearance at the Indianapolis Colts home field since he retired unexpectedly in August 2019.
Luck was one of 21 former players or coaches named as part of this year’s Hall of Fame class earlier in the day.
The two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up looked much thinner than he did when playing for the Colts from 2012-18. He was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2012 and replaced Peyton Manning as the Colts starter.
When word leaked of Luck’s retirement near the end of a preseason game, Indy fans began booing. After the game, Luck made made his official retirement announcement — a little sooner than he had planned.
Indianapolis’ city streets were bustling Monday afternoon, almost five hours before No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia played for college football’s national championship.
The blue Colts attire that local fans usually wear was replaced with red hats, shirts, jackets and jerseys of the two Southeastern Conference teams, playing for a title in the Midwest.
Fans waited in long lines inside and outside restaurants despite temperatures hovering in the mid-20s, while others flocked to Monument Circle for afternoon concerts with Breland and Sam Hunt underneath the sun-drenched skies.
Alabama beat Georgia five weeks ago in the SEC title game, but the Bulldogs are a slight favorite. This is the first rematch for the championship in the playoff era.
The game kicks off at Lucas Oil Stadium at 8 p.m. and airs on ESPN.
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